The Supporters are Needed

50 Bundesliga games have been played between Eintracht and 1. FC Nürnberg so far, the Eagles have won 20 of them with the ‘Club’ being on top 13 times, 17 ended in a draw.

In four of the last six meetings the points were split, two of them were won by FCN – Eintracht’s last win in this fixture was around four years ago when they beat Nürnberg 1-0 on their home turf in the 2005/06 season, the winning goal was scored by Ioannis Amanatidis just before half time.

Six players of the starting line up back then are still in the current Eintracht squad: Nikolov, Koehler and Meier will most likely play on Saturday, Amanatidis possibly too, Vasoski is recovering from an injury, Ochs is banned due to his sending off against Bayer Leverkusen two days ago.

This fixture also brings back memories of the dramatic relegation show-down in 1998/99 when Eintracht beat Kaiserslautern 5-1 in the last game that season. Jan-Aage Fjoertoft scored the deciding goal in the dying moments of the match. Frankfurt moved up in the Bundesliga standings, passed Nürnberg on goal difference and stayed up, the ‘Club’ was relegated.

Eintracht’s current top scorer Theofanis Gekas (3) scored his very first Bundesliga goal against the upcoming opponent (for VfL Bochum in 2006), and manager Michael Skibbe only lost one of his 10 meetings with them – in 2006/07 with his former club Leverusen.

All good omen are needed, as Eintracht must overcome the disappointing start to the season (four defeats in five games). The last time the Eagles had a worse start was in 1998/99 (two draws, three defeats after five games) – that very season with the dramatic finish described above. Let’s hope we will not have to go through dramas like that again.

Manager Michael Skibbe as always offered his views on the situation ahead of the game.

Mr Skibbe, will there be changes to the starting line up of the Leverkusen game?

No, I’m not intending to change a lot. We had a good game in Leverkusen, on a high level, so most of those players will also be in the team on Saturday.

Is Alexander Meier ready to return?

It is looking good, if he’s fit he will play.

Will Chris play in midfield or move back to defense?

That’s to be decided.

What does the team need to change in comparison to the unfortunate Freiburg home game a week ago?

We need to play faster and more focused towards the opponent’s goal. But that’s tricky if the teams we play against come with a good defense. Look at Bayern Munich against Cologne.  But we’ll try everything to win that game, we have to win it.

What’s the situation of the strikers Ioannis Amanatidis and Martin Fenin?

I hope one of them will return to the squad so that we have an alternative up front.

Oka Nikolv had some problems with his Achilles tendon, will he be able to play?

Yes, there’s no risk for him to play, it got much better and the doc does not see any further problems coming up.

What about Aleksandar Vasoski?

It’s looking good, he’s working on the ball already, the plan is that he returns to normal squad practice start of  the week.

Is there pressure on the team?

Yes, the Bundesliga standings put pressure on us. But we can cope with that, if we do not want to fall behind even more, we will have to win.

How is it possible to avoid last minute defeats?

You have to focus more in the final period of the game. We have to sharpen up, and we have to work on these and other things.

Do you look towards relegation struggle?

No. I’m focusing on Saturday’s game only. It will be a difficult match for us, no doubt about that. It will be a tough fight and we’ll need 100% support of our fans, as the team is under pressure. Precisely in situations when things are not going well the fans are needed most. I hope there will be no boos if a player doesn’t hit the target or plays a bad pass, we’ll need support instead. Boos would not be good in such an important game.

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